Many of us fellow-colleagues turned up today at his wake to pay respect to the man who's lost his life so early. He was only 32.
There was no joss-stick at where the coffin was. And no funeral prayers of any kind one would expect to hear at a funeral. It transpired that Soon Beng, ever the joker that he was, had written an email to a group of friends sometime last year, thanking each of them for being his friends, and the happy time he had with them, and how appreciative he was of their friendship. That emailed was aptly titled "When I'm gone, there's no need for joss-sticks. Just a bow and it's enough to make me smile".
Many of us thought it was uncanny that Soon Beng should write that email. Some thought it was a premonition of sort. But I thought otherwise. It was just an email from a friend who liked to "horse around". And his family has decided to follow his wishes to keep his funeral simple - there would be no joss stick and the dins one would expect from a funeral. And he's also requested that rock music be played on his funeral.
Almost 3/4 of those present at the wake were fellow colleagues. Most of us sat solemn faced, some crying quietly, and others who looked as if they have been crying.
There were also some busy engaging in conversations. Some of these colleagues are friends whom we have not seen for a while for they work at different sites. So, it's a sort of gathering at the wake, if I may say so. And yes, there was laughter along with the chatters. Some would have thought it inappropriate. But I think Soon Beng would have liked that we keep smiling and laughing, like the way he was when he was with us....
I was numb with sadness when I received news of a traffic accident that claimed the life of my colleague, Soon Beng today. The accident happened after office hours at the stretch of road near my office building.
Handsome, big and a little chubby, I remember Soon Beng as a happy-go-lucky sort of guy. We work for the same company but in different departments. So, I can't say I really know him well. But do I remember his ever ready smiles and cheerful dispositions whenever we ran into each other along the office corridors, in the gents and in the lifts. Our pleasantries never went beyond "hello" and "good morning" though, and I never got the chance to know him better on a personal level.
Two years ago, I attended a self-awareness course with him, and I realise how Soon Beng could be the joker in class, the sort of life-wire that livens up the classroom. He's always happy and jovial, the kinda guy who could make light of a tight situation. During the self-intro, Soon Beng said that one of his passions is writing. I wonder if he kept a blog?
Years ago, Soon Beng, a bike enthusiast, had a close shave with a traffic accident that left him hospitalised. He was lucky then. But fate dealt him cruelly this time round.
The fragility of life - now you see it; and now you don't. It makes me realise how important it is to treasure what we have, to get to know our fellow colleagues better, to be nice to our fellow human beings and yes, to adopt a positive outlook in our life. After all, we never know when our time is up or if our name's next in God's computer print-out up there.... Sometimes, we forget that we're living in transience in this world, and most things don't matter when we're gone.
Soon Beng, wherever you may be, we'll miss you; and your memory will live with us forever ......